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Barth Smelting Corp
Newark, NJ

Public Meeting

Presentation [PDF 6.9 MB, 31 pp] from November 20, 2013 Public Meeting

Presentation [PDF 3.7 MB, 31 pp] from March 6, 2013 Public Meeting

Your Community
Involvement Coordinator

Sophia Kelley – (212) 637-3670
Kelley.jessicasophia@epa.gov

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The site is located in a mixed residential/industrial neighborhood within the Ironbound Section of Newark, New Jersey. The site is bounded to the north by the Passaic River, to the south by Chapel Street and Lister Avenues, to the east by the former Diamond Alkali Site, and to the west by the Terrell Homes, a public housing complex owned by the Newark Housing Authority. A small recreational playground utilized by the Terrell Homes residents is located immediately adjacent the former Barth Smelting facility. 

Barth Smelting Corp. operated a smelting facility on the 99 Chapel Street property; specifically Block 2442, Lots 10, 11, 12, from at least 1946 until the late 1970s.  Barth operated as a smelter and produced brass and bronze ingots. Barth was listed as an unrecognized Battery Lead Smelter site in a paper titled “Discovering Unrecognized Lead Smelting Sites by Historical Methods” written by William Eckel et al, and published in the American Journal of Public Health, April 2001. 

Prior operators at the 99 Chapel Street property include General Lead Batteries, a manufacturer of lead acid batteries, and the New Jersey Zinc Company, a former zinc smelter. The New Jersey Zinc and Iron Company, also known as the Newark Zinc Works, formerly operated their large facility on the 99 Chapel Street property, as well as the property now occupied by the Newark Housing Authority’s Terrell Homes. The Zinc Works was one of the first commercial zinc oxide plants in the United States and operated on this location from 1848 to 1910. After New Jersey Zinc Company ceased operations, the buildings were demolished and the property subdivided. In 1946, the Millard E. Terrell Homes, a family development with 275 units, was constructed on a portion of the property formerly occupied by the New Jersey Zinc & Iron Company.

Soil samples were collected from the playground area at the Terrell Homes property in December 2012. Elevated concentrations of lead were found in the top two feet of soil throughout the playground area. In response to the high levels of lead, Newark Housing Authority removed the playground equipment on February to discourage children from accessing the area. The EPA installed a temporary chain link fence around the former playground to restrict access to the lead contaminated soil.

EPA collected soil samples from unpaved areas throughout the Terrell Homes in March 2013 to determine if historic operations conducted on this property and the neighboring property had impacted the soil. The soil sampling results received in May 2013 indicated that two sampling locations near the community building of Terrell Homes had levels of lead present in surface soil that significantly exceeded the EPA residential soil screening level of 400 parts per million. Newark Housing Authority installed temporary construction fencing on May 10, 2013 to restrict access to the grassy area behind the community building. On Monday, May 13, the EPA replaced the construction fencing with a temporary chain link fence to restrict access to the contaminated areas until more permanent measures can be taken.

Additional soil samples were collected from the grassy area behind the community building in mid-May and along the property line in August, 2013 to determine the extent of contamination. Elevated levels of lead are present in the top two feet of soil extending from the property line to approximately 25-30 feet onto the Terrell Homes property behind the community building.

An Action Memorandum documenting EPA’s removal action at the Terrell Homes portion of the Barth Smelting site was signed on September 26, 2013. The removal action consists of the removal of the top one foot of lead contaminated soil within the unpaved play areas along the northern property boundary of the Terrell Homes and the construction of erosion controls to prevent lead contaminated soil present on the 99 Chapel Street property from migrating onto the adjacent unpaved play areas at the Terrell Homes.

Removal activities began at the Barth Smelting site on Thursday, December 5, 2013with the removal of trees, shrubs and fencing as necessary for the removal of contaminated soil. A total of 10 trees one foot or larger in diameter have been removed from within the excavation area. The excavation of lead contaminated soils and backfilling with clean fill material is expected to be completed by December 20, 2013. Restoration of the property, including tree replanting and hydroseeding, is planned for early Spring 2014.

Dust monitoring and air sampling will be conducted throughout all soil intrusive work. Daily dust monitoring reports will be generated and made available to the public.

Below are links to maps showing the results of soil samples taken from the Terrell Homes complex at 5 different depths in 30-36 locations. Samples were taken from a depth of zero to one inch, one to six inches, six to 12 inches, 12 to 18 inches and 18 to 24 inches. There is a map for each depth. The EPA's residential screening level for lead in soil is 400 parts per million. The numbers on the maps below are in parts per million. Green dots indicate levels below and red dots indicate levels above the EPA's screening level.

Depths of between 0 and 1 inch | 1 and 6 inches | 6 and 12 inches | 12 and 18 inches | 18 and 24 inches

The EPA also conducted sampling in early December 2012 when soil samples were collected at the playground of the Terrell Homes housing complex along Riverview Court, from the backyards of two residential homes along Chapel Street, and at two background locations in Newark. In February 2013, the EPA obtained the results of the sampling and levels of lead were found in surface soil that exceeded the EPA residential soil screening level of 400 parts per million.

Below are links to maps showing the results of soil samples taken from the old playground in the Terrell Homes complex at five different depths in 22 locations. Samples were taken from a depth of zero to one inch, one to six inches, six to 12 inches, 12 to 18 inches and 18 to 24 inches. There is a map for each depth. The numbers on the maps below are in parts per million. Green dots indicate levels below and red dots indicate levels above the EPA's screening level. On the map showing results for depths of between 18 and 24 inches, the "R" designation means that a soil sample could not be collected because the contractor encountered rock or similar material.

Depths of between 0 and 1 inch | 1 and 6 inches | 6 and 12 inches | 12 and 18 inches | 18 and 24 inches

This chart shows the results of soil samples taken from two multi-unit houses to the east of the Terrell Homes complex at five different depths in four locations. Samples were taken from a depth of zero to one inch, one to six inches, six to 12 inches, 12 to 18 inches and 18 to 24 inches. The EPA's residential screening level for lead in soil is 400 parts per million. The numbers on the chart are in parts per million.


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